A look back at 2019

So at the end of 2018 I posted a promise to myself for 2019. Now it’s time to look back at 2019 and see if I lived up to that promise.
Well for the most part I’m happy with how the year has gone. I’ve worked towards becoming a drag artist, practising my look. I’ve posted photos of myself online as well as creating a Facebook page for Cherry Ade. I’ve also had chance to work behind the scenes at a couple of drag shows which have given me some insight to being a drag artist.
On top of this I have done a couple of burlesque lessons and have been working towards doing burlesque as a drag artist. Furthermore I’ve really enjoyed these courses as well as doing some others such as pole. Finishing this year I felt more satisfied with how the year had gone then the previous year. It really feels as if I’ve accomplished things. Coming out as both Bi sexual and a Drag Artist on Facebook and therefore with people

who know me has given me a better sense of freedom and the support I’ve had from so many friends has been great and really raised my self-esteem.

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Not everything on my list was done though. My novel still hasn’t been published and although I’ve made some enquires towards doing so it’s kind of sat on the back burner for now. Likewise my other novel has come to a stop. The closing of my favourite café where I used to write hasn’t helped. As for the blog although I’ve written a few pieces throughout the year it’s not as much as I’d like. I also unfortunately still have the same job, things have got better there but it’s still not what I want to be doing.
So what about 2020. Well the drag thing is going ok and my main goal for this year si to put together and perform a routine at a showcase in May, so that is my main goal to concentrate on for now. I’m also hoping working on a few more drag shows will present themselves in the coming year. I do want to still work towards getting my finished novel published. I do want to get back to doing more blog posts. I’m planning on maybe doing them in batches working around the subjects of me as a drag artist, some more LGTB stuff. Doctor who and maybe some other topic thrown in as well.
As for the job, well I’d like something else to come along so we will see. At the moment I’m happy with how things are going. There is still a long way to go towards some things but I feel more hopeful about the future.

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Happy 2020 everyone.

How to be a Drag Queen

Words of wisdom from drag artists

 

Ok, so I’m making to push towards performing as a drag artist. I started thinking about it back in 2010 but it was one of those things I regrettable never did at the time. Now I’m looking at ways to go about it. I’ve had a make- up lesson from Jenny Wave, (see photoshoot post) and started burlesque courses at Mizz Twisted Cherry Studios with a Great Gatsby theme routine. And of course I’ve watched countless you tube videos and read up on everything I can find to give me advice and tips. I’ve even started my own Facebook page under the name Cherry Ade in order to start pushing myself out there.
But I figured the best place to get some advice is from some of the drag artists I know and so I asked some of them, what is the one piece of advice you’d give to anyone trying to become a drag artist?”
The first person I turned to was my close friend Miss Felicia, a drag queen for over ten years, bringing her own version of drag race to Gloucester, discovering Misty Monique and thus being the originator of what would eventually become Drag Wars. She now lives and performs regularly at the Golden Cross, Cardiff and has her own Christmas shoe coming up. What did she have to say?

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“Don’t be me.” Maybe meant as more of a joke but still solid advice. One of the things that I’ve found with drag is that the performances and the styles vary greatly. Miss Felicia, Luna Lakes and Isabell End are all very different. I’d love to be able to sing as well as Felicia or dance and look as gorgeous as Luna. And as much as I love Doctor Who Isabell has already scared a number of Daleks in her performance. So simply copying my friend isn’t a great move. What I need to do is to find the persona that suits me that I feel comfortable with. What kind of person is Cherry?
I turned next to Misty Monique. The host of Oh My Drag and Drag Wars at the Frog and Fiddle, Cheltenham. She is someone who had helped other drag artists get a chance and recently won a ‘We Are One’ Awards Young Adult Upstander Award, (which I’m really pleased about as I was one of the people who nominated her. Misty also puts on another show. Flock aimed and new artists to get a chance to perform, something to keep my eye on in the future.

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Misty gave me this advice: “my advice would be to research, go online, go on youtube etc. The internet is a fantastic resource for learning the basics of drag. Get to know your local scene and ask those involved for tips etc, but don’t be reliant on having a ‘drag mother’ to teach you everything – you learn so much more without one. Don’t use drag race as your only resource – you will find out so much more by going to local shows”
Along with the Oh My Drag shows in Cheltenham I’ve also visited The Golden Cross in Cardiff. Along with guest artists at both these events and Drag Wars this has allowed me to see a great variety or acts. Most of the artists I have spoken to at these events have been friendly and helpful. I’ve helped Miss Felicia behind stage at the final of Drag Wars this year and will be working backstage at Miss Felicia’s show at Christmas all of which has given me a chance to learn a lot. Even after a year or so of working towards this goal I’m still find stuff on the net.

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Luna Lakes: my advice would be to make sure you do drag for yourself first, always! As a movement, drag is all about non-conforming and embracing the weird, wacky and wonderful parts of self-exploration and it’s crucial you remember that. More often than not, you will find there are people both within and outside of the community that will try to police or censor you on how you should express yourself, but just remember that drag is yours to enjoy, and finding what drag means to you is the key part of the experience. All art is subjective and unique, and drag is art, so don’t dull your shine by sticking to any ideals and traditions thrown your way when presenting yourself as a drag artist. The biggest gratification you get from drag is a pat on the back from yourself! Once you have that, you’ll be ready to conquer the world! ”
I’ve been questioning why I want to do drag. I just really want to do it, I’m not thinking about it as a way to earn extra money and I’m not after fame. To me it feels like a way to express myself, to feel a part of something. It certainly isn’t because it’s easy. I’ve learnt there is a lot of hard work involved. I did my first performance in drag at the end of my first burlesque course this week and despite the practise I put in I forgot the routine half way through and struggled, luckily it was only in front of the rest of the class but it would have been nice to watch the video with pride and not notice all the mistakes. I still take pride in the fact that I got up there and did it though and at times when I did mess up the moves I was able to improvise. And while my performance was lacking I did have plenty of good responses to my drag. I overcame my anxiety at doing it and I think I can pat myself on the back for that.

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This also feeds into the advice I got from Isabell End. “I think my main advice would be to enjoy yourself, however the performance is going. The audience love it when you’re having fun and engaging them ”
Despite my mistakes and my panic over doing the routine I loved it. I felt relieved when it was over but I enjoyed doing it. It felt like an achievement and I got a good response from the class.
So to reiterate. Try not to copy another artist and to find myself. Find out how to express myself and don’t let anyone else chance that. But at the same time take time to research and get advice and tips from others. Above all enjoy myself when performance regardless of how it’s going and just try to entertain the audience.

I’m ready for the next time which is in eight weeks’ time with a Rocky Horror Show theme. Yes I was pleased with my makeup this time but there is still a lot to learn and to practice and this time I will put even more practice time in on the routine. The goal is to perform at the Mizz Twisted Cherry Showcase next year. I have song in mind and the first ideas of a routine. Hopefully by next year Cherry Ade will be performing.

 

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As these Queens helpped me out with their advice for this post:

Miss Felicia’s show, Applause: A Christmas Special is on Friday 20th December at Rhiwbina Memorial Hall, Cardiff. Tickets available from;

http://www.ticketlab.co.uk/events/applause?fbclid=IwAR24qm-M_w9o357EcoQyTxpcP60r17Dr1V-UtsgTUM9wtn-3rCT2xpJp8tk

Misty Monique will be at Flock Vol 2 at The Sober Parrot, Cheltenham and Oh My Drag: Nightmare on Elf Street is at the Frog and Fiddle on 7th Dec. Ticket available here;

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/487256?fbclid=IwAR0GTUrxlzv_eZ2uMQEOtT99Flxjsbg6pn-F67E5_Fwbxva3bckmIHd0Pbk

You can also catch Luna Lakes and Isabell End at Oh My Drag. If you want more Luna, she is also performing along side Lilly Love at the Little Vic, Stroud for the next three Tuesdays (7th, 14th & 21st with their Drag Race UK Viewing Extravaganza.

 

The similarities between Doctors

“He will become a new man”

 

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Regeneration. One of the greatest concepts a show has ever come up with allowing us to follow the adventures of the Doctor for nearly sixty years. Thirteen incarnations (fourteen with the War Doctor) all completely different from one another. The first Doctor was like a Edwardian gentleman who could be quite crotchety sometimes, the second a cosmic hobo, underestimated by the enemy who sometimes showed a darker side.
Or are they? Certainly when the first Doctor first regenerated it was into a young, shorter version. At first it was likened to a renewal, as if the years had been stripped back. But it was clear very soon that this was not just a younger version of the Doctor. It was a different persona. Then it happened again. So the crotchety old man, the cosmic hobo, the Dandy, the bohemian madman, the youthful wonderer, the older crotchety Doctor, the cosmic hobo, underestimated with a darker side.

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Already with the classic series we start to see repeats, throwbacks if you like to other previous versions. Some of them are intentional. Both Davison and Baker said they looked towards the first Doctor for inspiration for their Doctors. And the seventh Doctor although starting out very Troughton like developed into a darker version.
I actually began to think about this back in the nineties when I first became a fan. It seemed that after the fifth Doctor the incarnations started to echo earlier incarnations. The sixth was like the first, the seventh like the second.
There was even a theory at the time that the fifth Doctor was actually the thirteenth, based off the events of The Brain of Morbius and completely overlooking Mawdryn Undead. Had some sort of regeneration reset happened? Future Doctors would channel previous incarnations in order. No it’s a stupid theory.
Yet when the TV movie came along in 96 it’s interesting to see the similarities between the eighth and the third. While the young Doctor’s style emulates the firsts to a degree there is a lot in common with the third Doctor and his era starting with the logo itself.
Regenerating from a small mysterious man into a taller striking body, the Doctor ends up in hospital. Awakening he explores the hospital, stealing some clothes from a hospital employee. He manages to leave the hospital by stealing/ stowing away in, a car.
He luckily has assistance from another doctor. It’s not long before another of his race, the Master threatens the Earth. The Doctor and his companion races around on a motorcycle to try and save the day.
Ok they are very superficial similarities but it’s interesting to look at.

When the series returned it seemed that the spell was broken. The ninth Doctor was hardly anything like the fourth. But if the TV movie was a failed pilot and this was a second attempt, learning from the mistakes then what.
So from here in I’m going to look at the similarities between Doctors nine to thirteen compared to Doctors three to seven. Not merely in terms of character but also their era. Sorry it’s taken five hundred words to get here.
The ninth and the third are very different Doctors. A striking dandy working for the military, and a loner alien dressed in a leather jacket. But within the series itself we can find things very reminiscent of the third Doctor era.
For the most part the Doctor’s adventures take place on Earth. Out of ten adventures four take place on modern Earth (if we include Dalek which is set only a few years into the future at the time) and the final although set in the future has scenes set on modern Earth.
Another three are set in the past. And three in the future, End of the World, The Long Game and Bad Wolf/ Parting of the Ways and all three of these take place on a station orbiting the Earth. In short within the TV series itself the ninth Doctor doesn’t visit an alien planet, he is effectively for the most part Earthbound.

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In his first adventure he encounters the Autons including an iconic scene of shop dummies bursting through shop windows and gunning people down in the street. His companion for most of his adventures is a young blonde haired girl. But there is also a feeling of a family here as there are regular characters that crop up when the Doctor is on Earth during the modern day adventures. The Doctor himself is considered by the government as an expert in alien encounters.

The tenth Doctor may seem at first to have more in common with the fifth Doctor then the Fourth, especially considering the conversation in Time Crash. However….
The first adventure of this new Doctor takes place on modern Earth. He starts of acting very erratic. Luckily there is someone on hand with a stethoscope to check on his hearts. By the end he’s recovered, more settled down and with his companion(s) takes off for new adventure in time and space. His adventures during this time include Sarah Jane Smith and K9. Gabriel Woolf provides the voice for one of his more powerful foes. Davros appears for the first time in the classic/new series with this Doctor.

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Donna in her final adventure gains the Doctor’s brain putting her on the same level as him, almost like a time lady companion of the fourth. There is a sober feel to the final few adventures of this incarnation as he feels his end is coming soon along with a premonition of sorts. (The Watcher/ Four knocks)
His adventures brings an end of an era. Over the course of his time the series has become the most popular it has ever been with the highest ratings, and this incarnation of the Doctor has been the most popular cementing themselves in the minds of many as the iconic version of the Doctor. There is doubt by some that the series might not survive the change, especially in light of the news that….

…….The new Doctor is the youngest actor to date to take on the role. Many wonder if they will be able to bring through the age of the character. The fears are misplaced. The actor is able to play the Doctor as an old man in a young body. During his era he travels with a number of companions at the same time although this returns to the one Doctor, one companion by the end. There is an anniversary story during this time with the Doctor meeting up with previous incarnations in an adventure that involves Gallifrey. In fact it is Gallifreyan technology that allows this to happen. We also have the death of companions during this time.

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If anywhere it is the similarities between the sixth and twelve Doctor that are the most striking. Both are showed at first to be uncaring Doctor’s. Note the sixth Doctor’s talk of how alien he is. “I am, in your terms, an alien. I’m therefore bound to have….
In Into the Dalek we have the Doctor talk about Clara. “Yes she’s my career, she cares so I don’t have to.” Over time however he mellows a bit. From notes at the time of the sixth Doctor this was seemingly the plan for his version of the Doctor and its something that has happened with his Big Finish adventures. He has one companion for the majority of his adventures and is extremely upset by her apparent death during an adventure. However it turns out later that she didn’t really die.

From the perspective of the show there is more, both actors playing the Doctor have appeared in a previous story as another character. (Arc of Infinity and Fires of Pompeii) It also does seem during this era of the show that it starts to decline and despite liking the Doctor many feel that a lot of the stories are not doing him justice. There is a feeling that maybe the producer/showrunner has stayed in the job too long and it needs to be refreshed. There is at least a story that teams up the current Doctor with a previous one in a non-anniversary way as they simply cross paths. For the first time in the series run there is a gap year before this Doctor returns for one last series.
Of course as mentioned above there is also a similarity between the sixth and the first Doctor and it’s interesting that the last adventure of the twelfth Doctor also involves the first.
Ok, I really have nothing with the thirteenth Doctor. In fact I’ve made many comments on various social media about how much this series and Doctor reminds me of the fifth Doctor and his era as well as noting points with the first Doctor era. But it is early days with Jodie only having one series under her belt. The first series is followed by a story involving Daleks and she travels with three companions, two males, one female.
However the show itself seems to be suffering. Its run has cut down on the number of episodes it produces a year. Many believe it has had its time and needs a rest and that Jodie could be the last Doctor before the show goes off the air again for a rest.
So the thirteenth Doctor seems to have broken the chain of following previous Doctors, or at least the order of previous Doctors. However the show itself still seems to be following the pattern. But a note of hope to finish. The next two series of the seventh Doctor started to show a return to form with the second series landing on an anniversary year. (The 25th of classic/ the 15th on New) In those days it was too late and the series couldn’t recover. Hopefully the next couple of series will help the series recover some of its former glory. It does feel different this time.

 

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Speaking of endings, this blog was written in the café where many of them have been over the last three years. It is also the last. After three years the café is closing down (27/9/19)
It’s rather sad. It is the place where I wrote my novel, (and started my second) spending many Saturdays typing away armed only with a pot of Assam tea. It was a chance to get away from the distractions of home and concentrate on my writing. During that time I’ve wrote posts from discussing issues from transgender to role models. I’ve spoken about changes in my life as I’ve explored myself and as I head towards new areas of my life it will be sad that this part is over.
So a thanks to Le Petit Hibou, its owners Barry & Jill and all its staff for allowing me to sit here for hours upon end even when closing.

Love Lives Here

Love Lives Here
By Amanda Jette Knox

Kind of a review

 

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I don’t do many reviews on here. In the early days I did one on my favourite movie and to a degree the new Ghostbusters movie. However my site went in a different direction. However after reading Love lives here I felt compelled to write about it. Not only because of how much I enjoyed it but also because of how I related to it. As such this is not just a review but a post on what this book means to me and how it has affected my own life.
The main thing about the book is that it is a page turner. I love reading. I started at an early age and use to spend hours reading novels. I loved studying. However in later years, with distractions such as multi-channel TV and laptops I have slowed down on the reading front.
However when I got this book I couldn’t wait to read on and on. It gripped me from one chapter to the next. Having followed Amanda on Twitter for quite some time as well as reading her own blog, I was well aware of the story that was unfolding on the pages before me. That didn’t make it any less interesting. For those not in the know, the book tells the story of Amanda’s family, dealing first with her daughter coming out as transgender and then her wife and the effects it has had on them.
For those in the know then reading this in the book will be no surprise but there are a lot of intimate details. We get the story how both Amanda and her wife Zoe grew up before meeting and getting married. We get to know Amanda’s inner most thoughts, not only with the drama unfolding in her family but also with her own demons. There is a simple honesty with the story being told here and it shines out through the entire book.

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As I mentioned there is some things in this book I really related to. Not only with Zoe’s experiences but also with Amanda’s. How she was always someone who tried to please everyone in a way to be liked by them is exactly the same as me. With my low self-esteem it is something I realised late in life and I’m still struggle to control. Knowing that I’m not the only one like this and that the behaviour can be changed was good. Likewise her tenacity to keep on writing her blog, to use media platforms to help the LGTB community and her basic rule to simply live life through love has reenergised me to carry on with my own little contributions. The way that she deals with negatives things that crosses her path with love and understanding without compromising or taking any nonsense is amazing and a lesson to be learned. In short Amanda Knox’s has become another role model for me. Oh and look, once again it’s a woman and a real person (see Role Models encore). I find myself wondering did she find writing this book therapeutic in any way, as I did when writing A Girl’s Night Out. A book I’m even more determined to get published.

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Amanda’s wife, Zoe also resonated with me. She was around my age when she transitioned and looking at the photos of her and seeing how beautiful she looks has helped with some of my fears of whether it’s too late for me. Also the love and support she received from friends, family and co-workers was amazing. Having posted some of my own revelations and photos on Facebook recently and having positive feedback has encouraged me even more so to explore and come out as myself more publicly. There is another outcome to her coming out that I have started noticing with myself. That afterwards her personality changed, more positive and relaxed with who she is. Since owning my bi-sexuality and my more feminine side I have found myself caring less about what people think of me. Finding myself freer in expressing myself but also an inner happiness inside me. I can actually feel it. A swelling up in my chest. A happiness and satisfaction with my life that I haven’t got close to since university five years ago. A feeling I thought may never come again.
But back to the book itself. Amanda writes with a nice pace blending emotions and humour throughout the book with ease. In particular pages 107, 225 and the final page triggered my emotions. And if you want to know what those instances were I suggest you go and buy the book. The last sixty pages flew by in one reading. It was getting late but I just had to carry on. And then I stopped on the final chapter and put the book down. I didn’t want it to finish. I was loving the unfolding story and if I read that last chapter it was finished. I wanted to hold out that anticipation a little longer. To prolong the story just a bit more. Hopefully there will be more from Amanda sometime in the future. As for Love Lives Here, all I can say is that it left me filled with hope and love. It rightly deserves its place as a best seller and I’d recommend this to anyone to read. Hopefully it may even change a few closed minds out there.

I’m finally out!

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Ok, not fully but a little while ago I announced of Facebook that I was Bisexual. For many it probably didn’t come as much of a surprise. In recent years I’ve been quite open about who I was although to what extent was only shared with a few trusted people. So it may have been possible that some were unsure, or thought I was joking.
I didn’t really need to put it on Facebook, indeed I debated with myself for a while as to put weather I was Bisexual or pansexual. I could count myself as either, but for the most part I felt Bisexual was easier just because of the level of understanding I know some of my friend are at. I didn’t want questions on it. I didn’t want to get caught up in discussions of what pan sexual is and the difference between the two and how does it involve pans?

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No the reason I put it on Facebook apart from finally clearing up any confusions anyone may have had about me was twofold. Firstly because I was fed up of watching what I posted on there. Not so much personal stuff but images, jokes etc. If I wanted to comment on a photo of Lucifer about how hot he is I would stop myself. Not because I wanted to protect myself from being questioned on my sexuality but because I was worried about how people would take it. Whether they would be left wondering. True it wouldn’t really be any of their business and I shouldn’t worry about what people think but there was just something that didn’t feel right to me. And this was the second reason I posted it.
For myself. Not just so I could make comments and post anything I wanted but just to feel like myself. It was my way of saying to my world that “hey this is me, like it or lump it.” I was owning my sexuality. It wasn’t being guessed at or assumed. It was me saying this is what it is.
And it felt good. It felt freeing. There was an element of fear there before I posted. I thought about it for a couple of weeks. But it felt so good to do it. I’d been doing it on twitter for the last couple of years but no one on there were actual physical friends. People I knew in my life.
And then the notifications and comments started to come in. Likes, loves, comments of well done, so proud and be yourself. Each one helping to validate me, made me feel better. Some even commenting “about time”. It’s amazing how many people seemed to know about me before I really did.

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There was also another point to me coming out as bisexual. A little thing I put at the bottom of the post, 1/2. No one commented on it. They’ve didn’t ask what it meant. And for those who might know, still nothing. One of two. The first post out of two. There is another post to come sometime in the future, some other revelation.
Because it was also a test run. To see how people reacted. My friend Ashley wanted me to fully come out on Facebook along with the photos I’ve had done. Personally I wasn’t ready for that. It would be like ripping a band aid straight off. This way I’m was slowly teasing it off. Plus I’m still wasn’t sure where I stood with being genderfliud.
I’m also aware that there is a difference between announcing your sexuality and announcing your gender. It’s a big step to take and I’m trying to make it a little bit smaller before announcing anything else about me to the world.
But sometimes fate takes a hand in things. Maybe it was because I was at Pride that weekend or maybe deep down I was just looking for a way to come out further, I don’t know. However when a friend of mine posted on Facebook about how his daughter was trying to raise money for charity and not getting far, could his friends help I did. I donated a bit of money. But there were very few others that did the same. My friend of course was disappointed. He is someone who in the past has gone out of his way to help others.
I did the only thing I could think of to help him and in a way help me. I messaged him.
“If you don’t get many donations by Friday let me know. I may have a way to help.”
Friday came and the total hadn’t moved much. I checked in with my friend. Still disappointed.
Deep breath I posted on Facebook about my friend’s daughter raising money. I posted the link to donate. Then I made a promise.
“If any of my friends donate and we can get near the total needed by Monday then I will post, for the first time on Facebook, a photo of me in drag.”
It sort of worked. A couple of people donated, one commenting just to see me in drag. Maybe they was expecting some half assed photo with just me in a dress. Monday came. The total hadn’t been reached, I could have backed out, but I didn’t. This was an opportunity and I’ve learnt now to take those when they come up. And so the photo was posted.

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And the response, like the bi sexual post was again overwhelmingly positive. A lot of compliments. And a big thanks from my friend to whom it meant so much. Within a couple more days the total was smashed and I felt great. I’d helped a friend and had presented myself, or to a degree Cherry Ade to my world.
I now have a Facebook page going for that persona and have had a few friend requests. The futures bright, the futures rainbow.

X-Men & The Trans Community

 

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From the comics I read as a kid, to the nineties Fox cartoon and then the X-Men film franchise that has been running for the last twenty years they have been there. At college we use to go to the local chip shop during dinner and play on the arcade game there. I was always Nightcrawler, my favourite at the time. (Well there was also Wolverine but my mate was always him)
Wolverine can of course be considered one of the most popular of the X-men. Hugh Jackman has played him superbly in the franchise with three solo movies and a number of cameos. But for me it’s a team thing. The comics, the series, even the X-Men games I still have for the Playstation it’s a group. Cyclopes, Storm, Nightcrawler, Wolverine, Colossus, Beast. Just a few of my favourites.

Now since starting this blog I’ve written a few posts on heroes. From the role models I’ve had over the years such as He-man and Spiderman to looking at Batman, Supergirl and the themes of identity. The X-men then also provide a personal meaning to me. They are a minority group. Created in the sixties it seems obvious that Stan Lee took themes from the racist attitudes that existed. They became metaphoric for people who were treated different because they were different. A theme still relevant in the eighties and nineties with homosexuality and the AIDS crisis. A theme still relevant now because of the issues with Trans people.

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Let’s take a look at the X-men or more precisely the mutant community. Outcasts, feared for being different and not fitting into what people consider the norm. Many of these mutants don’t have the great powers of the X-men or their enemies. Their mutation may be just something small. A little bit different in their identity and all they want to do is try and live a normal life, try to fit in with society.
This is what most Trans people want. When people shout about Trans women using women’s toilet the argument always have someone say ‘Why not have separate toilets for trans women.’ Well apart from the impracticalities, such as establishments having to fit an extra toilet area, the fact remains it marks someone out as different.

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A Trans woman is a woman, a mantra often repeated by many but with good reason. They don’t want to be seen as something different. They are just trying to get on with their lives as the person they are. They just want to go for a pee. There shouldn’t be any reason why they should have to enter through a door marked just for them, a door that advertises to those around that this person is different. A talking point. Someone to stop and stare at. A person who is now open to attack and ridicule. The toilet might as well just have a big flashing sign across the top. What this separate toilet does is force that person to identify themselves just because they need to pee.

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Ok, mini rant over but we’ll be coming back to identity later. On Twitter it is almost like there is a war going on. Trans people and their allies one side. Cis people and allies on the other. Arguing over rights, safety, respect or even the meaning of words. It’s the same as the world of the X-men. A minority group fighting for their rights, sometime to even exist, in the world and the other side against them. Or even just confused by it. In X-men 2 there is a scene where Iceman’s mother uses the line “Have you tried not being a mutant?” It’s a line that has been used against both homosexuals and Trans people. A mistaken belief that it is a choice. Something that can be turned off.
And like the world of the X-men there are different factions. Many are those just trying to live. Others are more outspoken, activists who like the X-men put themselves out there to fight and be visible. Munroe Berkoff, Paris Lee, Dr Rachel McKinnon. Sadly there are others as well who are more like Magneto’s team, willing to use violence (speech) to achieve their aims. The more extremist side. But the same goes for the other side. Many of those fighting against Trans people are just people with concerns about safety, fairness and loss of rights. There is misinformation and there is fear. But there is a few that are more hateful. Rather like the Mutant Liberation Front they don’t think Trans people should exist or if they do they should be segregated from the rest of society. And rather like scenes we’ve seen in those comics, movies and cartoons there are those who would use violence against individuals. Who are quite proud to announce on social media about what they would do if they came across a Trans person. It’s a scary world out there. To think there are people out there who I’ve never met, never spoken to who hate me for who I am and would beat the shit out of me if they came across me.
I’ve seen posts that advocates for Trans people to have to wear a symbol to mark them out in society. Even for there to be a registration. An idea I pointed out at the time was similar to the X-men.

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It’s here that we can return to the point about identity. Why do Trans people need to wear something to mark them out? Why is it important for people to be able to recognise them in the street? There is only one answer and it’s because they are seen as wrong. They are seen as dangerous. “Oh right, yeah you can exist as a woman but we need to know you were born male.” Is it so you can stop your children conversing with someone Trans? Is it so you know not to walk on the same side of the street? Does it matter that such a move would identity Trans people out to the more extreme elements of society, resulting in bulling, beatings and possibly death. Where is the concern for safety now?
The only thing such actions such as separate toilets and wearing symbols does is it makes it easier for people to identify. There has already been cases where women have been accosted in restrooms by people who believe they are trans. A woman accused of sexual assault in America resulted in some on Twitter pointing her out as Trans. When I argued what evidence they had for this the reply was “My eyes, she looks like a man.” Even Kira Knightly has come under scrutiny with some believing she is secretly Trans because of the way she is built. Fear and hatred allow such things to happen.
These themes in the X-men comics have been going for fifty years, I’m hoping it doesn’t take fifty years before Trans people are allowed to live in relative peace. Hopefully we can find a common ground. A way to provide safety where needed for both sides while allowing Trans people to live the way they want. It’ll never be perfect. Last year (2018) a man refused to sit next to a black woman on a plane. Gay couples are still refused rooms in some hotels or cakes made for their wedding. There are still calls for conversion therapy.

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I spoke in the previous blog about how I hope X-men movies still get made and with the wealth of stories out there why there is no reason they couldn’t. One of my ‘favourite’ stories is God Loves, Man Kills’. It’s hard hitting. From the very start two mutant children are killed and strung up just for being different. There is hatred spread throughout. It’s emotional, it’s hard and it deserves a movie version. It ends both on a note of hopefulness, An act of kindness from one human, and a bittersweet note as the fight to exist is only temporary halted before it begins again. The battle won but not the war. A brief respite before the arguments begin again on whether they should be allowed the same basic rights as other human beings.

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For those that are not X-men fans and are more DC then I would recommend the latest season of Supergirl. (Season four) It currently has the same themes although between humans and aliens. There is an obvious parallel with themes of immigration but also those themes of being discriminated against for being different. Given that it now features a Trans woman as a superhero it certainly highlights these themes and out of the four CW series at the moment it’s the one that I’m most into at the moment.

The X-men, Supergirl or any number of super hero stories out there can highlight injustice in the world. Call out hate and bigotry and gives us role models to look up to. But it also has to be said someone doesn’t need to have super powers to make a stand. To give respect to others and fight for peoples right to live in this world.

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Should the X-Men films be rebooted

 

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Recently I was sorting through my superhero DVDs, sorting the MCU films into a chronological order to watch rather than release date. Trying to do the same with my X-men films proved a little bit more problematic.
You have the original trilogy. X-Men, X-Men United and Last Stand. Then Wolverine Origin came out. No problem put that to the front. Then First Class. So far so good. The Days of Future Present? After First Class? After Last Stand? Ok I went for after Last Stand. After all it follows on from The Wolverine which follows on from the events of Last Stand and we see Logan’s actions change future events of Last Stand as well as a few other points. So already we have a soft reboot.
But then came Apocalypse. Were the hell does that go. Obviously before the events of X-men but after Days of Future past which is after Last Stand which no longer really exists. Suddenly I’m starting to get a headache and we’ve not yet gotten to the upcoming Dark Phoenix which seems to be a revamped version of Last Stand.

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Maybe it doesn’t really matter and with Days of Future Past how much of X-Men and X-men reunited were changed. Perhaps those films are now an alternative timeline.
But I have other problems with the franchise. First Class is set in 62. Days in 73, Apocalypse 83 and Dark Phoenix 93. While it’s a sort of cool gimmick jump a ten year gap with each movie with the next instalment set just seven years (or ten) before the first X-men movie and with 30 years pasting since first Class one has to wonder about the characters being portrayed here. Xavier and others don’t seem to age that much especially given that he is supposed to be looking somewhere like Patrick Stewart by now. In fact Wolverine Origins has a Cameo by Stewart’s Xavier and that’s is set in 79. No wonder Deadpool has to question which Xavier Colossus is taking him to see.

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So where I can believe events changed it is more challenging to me to believe the characters I’m now watching are going to become the ones we see in the original movies. Maybe if First Class had been a proper reboot it wouldn’t matter but Days of Future Past sees both versions of characters existing. Of course there could be some artistic licence here. After all in the comics different artists have put their own vision on the characters over the years and yet they have always remained looking similar over the decades.
So now that Disney now owns the rights and that they may want to use characters in the MCU maybe it’s’ time for an X-men reboot somewhere down the line. And it will definitely have to be a reboot. We have already had a Quicksilver in the MCU so as much as I love Evans Peters version it’s hard to see how he can be used. Likewise as much as it would be good to see Wolverine appear, Hugh Jackman has hung up his claws so a recast is required here. However Jackman has become somewhat iconic with the role it’s difficult to vision another actor take the part so soon. But then we’ve had three different Spider-men in the same time period.

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As a recent you tube video recently pointed out introducing the X-men into the MCU has it’s problems. We have to wonder where mutants have been all this time so it might only be possible to bring in the X-Men with a new modern timeline. Alternative some sort of universe crossover? Two separate Earths colliding allowing for the characters to appear together? It doesn’t sound like it would be a bad idea and I’m already suspecting this might be what is in store for the separate Earths of the DC CW shows next year.
But I do want to see something happen because I remember when X-men first came out around the same time as the Spiderman movies and thinking how cool would a crossover be. Of course given that X-men movies are still coming out it may be that some time is needed between retellings. But then they had no problem with Spiderman. The Flash has appeared in a DC movie despite the TV series and I think audiences today can take different versions of characters at the same time. After all there is over fifty years of comics to take from so there is really no need to repeat recent storylines. Of course they may just take a couple of characters from the X-men to use, maybe just too finally get some interesting villains. But I hope that in some way we do still get X-men movies because the X-Men represents something personal for me that doesn’t come with other heroes. But that’s another blog post coming soon.

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How we (& others) perceive ourselves.

 

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When you look into a mirror what do you see? The person you want to be? Potential? Do you look and think “Hey I’m looking pretty good today” or “Why won’t my hair go right, Is that bags under my eyes, I hate the way I look”?
I suspect it’s maybe the same for most people as it is for me. Sometimes I think I look ok sometimes I hate my looks. I mean when I’m getting ready to go out anywhere I want to try and look my best. Same with what I wear. I don’t just grab the nearest thing to throw on. Does this t-shirt make me look fat? Does this shirt go with these jeans? What earings to wear? It’s all carefully considered to how I want to present myself to the outside world. What message I want to send out to people.

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But it can sometime be a balancing act between what makes you feel comfortable and what makes you look good. Several years ago I sported a goatee and was told by a couple of people it suited me. And at the time I liked it. Now though I find it hard to go outside without being clean shaven. It can make me feel as if I’m not myself. I hate the roughness of my skin. The same with my red hair. Some liked it, some didn’t. And at the moment my hair is rather long. Despite how I love the feel of my hair down the back of my neck I know it looks unruly, untidy and needs a cut. But not too short. A while ago when I was still in a relationship my girlfriend convinced me to let her cut my hair. I do so but regretted it because she cut it shorter then what I had wanted. Why later on when it had grown back I let her cut it again, despite repeating once more not to go to short, I’ll never know.
But the point is this. I felt disappointed because I didn’t want my hair that short. It didn’t feel like me. Now from my girlfriend’s point of view she was cutting it to as style she thought looked good on me. And maybe it did. I can’t deny either that in the past I haven’t sought advice on my looks and style. I had a friend go through my wardrobe once throwing out anything she recommended getting rid of.
Plus I’m the type of person that if I find a style I like, I’ll stick to it or variations of it for a while until my taste change again.
So going back to this balancing act because this is where I’m at right now. I’m beginning to think more about my appearance because there is someone I’m interested in. And my first thought is how can I make myself appear more attractive, plastic surgery not really being an option? And so I begin to look at how to compromise how I like to look with how should I look. Will growing a goatee make me look manlier and attractive? A very short hair cut? Where is the line between what I find comfortable and what makes me look good?

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Now the simple answer to this is, where what you like, look how you want. Be yourself and the right people will like you for being you. And I stick by that advice. But can we trust our own judgement? When I look in the mirror and think “Hey my hair looks great today” that is my own perception. What people outside might see is wild hair all over the place. How many celebrity style disasters have been seen reported in magazines.
So rightly or wrongly we do place a great deal of importance on how others perceive us. I have a Doctor Who scarf, the long Tom Baker one. It is very rare I wear it out because I worried if it looks stupid. But at Christmas time whilst doing some photos I put together an outfit with the scarf that I loved. I thought it looked good, comfortable but not one I would wear out in public.
The reason. Because I liked it along with the wig and makeup. Without it, it doesn’t look right on me. And that’s another thing. Makeup. I’d love to be able to wear it out. And not just as female. There is a guy I fancy like mad and when he wears make up he looks just so damn cute. I wish I could do the same but a lack of confidence both in my skills and my looks stop me from doing so. When I wrote A Girl’s Night Out I found it easy because many of the events that happen comes from my own wishes of what I would love to do.

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There is this fight within myself to go out how I want to and to try and find a way to not look awful. And trust me some of the people I hang around with will let me know when I’m wearing something stupid. I mean I push the boundary. My rainbow laces in my trainers and boots that I got for Pride month a year ago are still on them. I like the look. And I’m happy to wear nail varnish out most of the time, as long as I’ve done a decent enough job on them. So there is already a part of me that doesn’t care what people think.
So why all of a sudden do I feel the need to look my best? Why am I worried about how people see me? Well maybe it’s because I’m falling in love. Yes for the last few weeks I’ve been feeling joy and happiness I’ve not felt for a long time and it’s down to my feelings for this guy. Now before I get too carried away I know there isn’t really much chance of getting with him. That’s not just me being hard on myself but because I’m aware it’s very unlikely to come to fruition and for various reasons. But when I see him I do want to make sure I look good especially if I’m having a photo with them. This brings me to my final point.
We try and present ourselves to the world in the way we want to be seen. Even if you are someone who doesn’t care about style or looking fabulous it’s still a statement saying I don’t care what people think, this is me. But when there is someone you want to look good in front of, that’s when you start to make a little bit more effort. In my past there was a girl I really fell for. It’s been a few years but I have never fully gotten over her. The thing was though because of her I always made an effort to look as good as I could. It was a great motivator to look after myself (although dropping a dress size is currently working for me, I hope).
But I was trying to present myself as someone she might find attractive. I took on her advice on what to wear, how to have my hair. To grow a beard because I wanted to look good for her. And because of my feelings for her, because I was worried about what she thought of me I missed out of some opportunities. Had I confided in her of how I wanted to look maybe I could have been myself instead. She was great at makeup and I always resisted the temptation to ask her for lessons and tips.
So what is the answer for me now? When I next see this guy I want to look good, but I also know I need to be myself. I have to find a balance of looking good and being comfortable. I’m not sure yet how that is going to work out. I’m working on bits of myself I don’t like to try and improve, not just for others but also for myself. It’s a work in progress. Finally today I’ve had new crowns fitted. I can smile again without feeling uncomfortable.

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Crushing on a fictional character

 

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Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character? I have. I thought maybe it was just me but no, with a little bit of research, it seems others out there also do the same. There are a few I’ve kind of fancied on and off over the years. Captain Jack Harkness from Torchwood, Lucifer from Lucifer and who knows how many female characters over the years. I remember as a kid fancying Cheetara from Thundercats. The very first crush, the first time I dreamed about a character was Lilly from sports Billy meaning I must have been around five at the time. That I can remember the dream still shows how powerful such crushes can be.
But of course I know they are fictional. They are characters within a narrative, they don’t really exist outside that programme. I’m not talking about the actor or actress portraying the character, I’m referring to the actual character. We connect with them, see something in them we are attracted to. Maybe their look, maybe the way they act. Of course there is nothing usually wrong with this, as long as we stay aware of them being fictional characters.

So does it have any value, these crushes? Well they help define us, define our sexuality. I wasn’t sure if I was bi sexual. I’d had a couple of encounters when I was young but for the most part all my relationships have been with women. But then I saw Captain Jack Harkness and wow. Ok I didn’t lust after him but at the time I made the comment, if I ever had to kiss a man it would be John Barrowmen. Ugg that sentence. If I had to. I realise my folly now of course. It’s not if I had to. The real sentence is I wouldn’t mind being kissed by him. This is of course based on a couple of things though. John Barrowmen is an attractive male. But partly my thoughts were based around the character of Captain Jack. His mannerism, his attitude. His open sexuality. Ok John Barrowmen himself is gay but even if he wasn’t the crush can still stand. The character of Jack is and that was who I’d image being kissed by. The same goes for Lucifer. Handsome and charming but I have no idea what actor Tom Ellis is like as a person.
But let’s talk about a more recent crush, one I’ve mentioned a couple of times. Luna Lakes.

 

 
It’s an interesting one. Because this is someone I have seen live, been in the same room as. An attraction defiantly built on looks because I can remember the first time I walked into the room for Drag Wars. She was one of the first people I saw. I didn’t know who she was or that she was one of the acts. So even from the start I didn’t know Luna was a fictional character or she was a person in drag. So a little bit of disappointment there (although my second thought after my first sighting was ‘definitely out of my league.’) Of course I have also seen Luna’s real alter ego. And yeah, he’s funny and kind of cute but no I have no real attraction to him, because again he’s not Luna, I don’t really know him. (Ok since writing this, it’s turned out to be a bit of a lie because I’ve come to realise I find him very cute.) It doesn’t chance the way I feel about Luna, I still look forward to any video with Luna in it. My heart still skips a beat if I’ve come close to her, I worry about what I look or sound like. It’s something which doesn’t happen with crushes on TV, after all it’s not like they can see me so it’s not like I have to worry about sitting around in my knickers and pyjama top. Why is it important that should I go and see Luna perform I look good? Is my hair nice? Am I blushing when she looks at me? Do I chicken out when I have a chance to hang out with her and run to the bar?
But just in case this is starting to sound a little bit creepy, don’t worry. I’m not pinning after her, I know in reality it’s the same as any other character I’ve seen on screen. Just in this case it’s actually someone I could physically interact with. Not in that way!

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It draws parallels to the posts I wrote on role models. We see something in the characters which we connect with. Something to aspire to. We know the person portraying them isn’t the same. William Shatner’s ‘Real Me’ song highlights this perfectly.
So what can we take from all this. Well we could believe we are sad losers, sit on the sofa wishing that person was real, but it isn’t the healthy option. And more importantly we should also keep in mind such characters are created. They may have traits and attributes which are just not available in the real world, so although you may go and a seek someone similar you are never going to find someone who is exactly like the fictional crush you have.
The guys I have mentioned, Captain Jack Harkness and Lucifer. Both tall, dark haired and handsome. A great sense of humour. The kind of person I could happily share a drink with and have a laugh. As for the women I’ve liked. Strong, independent, funny. I hesitant to use the word but sassy comes to mind. The kind of person I could happily share a drink with and have a laugh. Those are bits I can take and think ok, they type I’m attracted to.
And as for those fictional characters, well there’s nothing wrong with a health bit of fantasy

Separating Art from Artist

 

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It’s something that’s been on my mind recently. And before I get started I’m going to be talking about a person who may have created a character or series we like, a celebrity we look up to or even an actor who portrays a character that we like. Let’s start with that last one.

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Recently there have been stories coming out about Michael Weatherly. As a fan of NCIS I liked the character of Tony DiNozzo. Over thirteen seasons I felt I had come to know him. As such I also ended up watching Bull and again found a character I liked. And yet, if recent reports are to be believed Weatherly is not as nice as his characters. I feel betrayed, hurt. Am I a bad judge of character? How can this be the same person as DiNozzo or Bull. The reason is because both those characters are an act. When I see a photo of Weatherly, I see DiNozzo or Bull because I know those characters. I don’t know Weatherly. I’ve never met him, never communicated with him. He is for all intent and purposes a complete stranger to me. We identify with the character, we don’t know the real person behind character. It’s similar to what I talked about in my Musings on Death post.
So maybe Weatherly is not the type of person I’d want to sit down for a cup of coffee with. But does that invalidate the characters he has played. Should I never watch old episodes of NCIS with him in? The new series of Bull has started. Shall I now give it a miss?
Personally for me the answer is no. I still like the character of DiNozzo. He hasn’t changed for me, and Bull is an ass but I still want to see where his character goes next. It’s a case of having to separate reality from fiction. I don’t agree with Weatherly’s actions (if they are true) but it doesn’t affect my enjoyment of a character from a show. But it may stay in the back of my mind while watching, a slight shadow making its mark. But then that’s good. We shouldn’t simply forget and forgive.
But if you look at it in the opposite direction, we may see a character who is a terrible person on screen but the actor themselves as nice as pie. We don’t hate the actor for the character they are portraying.

But what about a writer. Recently there has been a storm of activity on Twitter regarding a comedy writer who has posted, what could be considered, transphobic views. But some of his past series have been ones I’ve enjoyed. I recently watched a couple of episodes of one. It’s still enjoyable but at the same time I felt uneasy I was watching it. And I could certainly see problematic undertones I hadn’t been aware of in my younger days. But there are also the great performances from the actors, the ones who make the characters come alive. The series will never be as fondly remembered by me as it once was and there is a little bit of disappointment in that.

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Talking of Twitter a comedian whose work I enjoyed also showed such tendency as the above writer. I had recently brought his autobiography. Should I now not read it, donate it to the local charity shop or take it out to the garden and burn it? Or maybe I should still read it. At least in this way I’ll get to know this person a little better. Maybe find out why they think the way they do. In the end I suppose it’s down to the choice of the person facing these dilemmas. And, I believe, either way the person goes is valid. I’m not going to say someone is over reacting if they decide to throw out their DVDs of certain series and I’m not going to judge if someone else says they’re a fan of the series.
But it is important to understand there is a distinction between the creation and the creator. Millions, including myself, still love Michael Jackson’s music and watch in awe at his dance moves and epic videos. He made important contributions to music, especially the development of the music video. But obviously as a person there were troubling aspects. So much so that the BBC banned his music from Radio One this week. But loving a person’s work does not mean agreeing with that persons views on life. I’m not a Jackson fan but I do like a lot of his music. I would also love to be able to dance like him, but I don’t idolise him.

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And if the person is damaged by their conduct. If they then struggle to find work, to be able to continue to create new projects then it will be their own fault. I’m not going to feel disappointed then. I’ll simply shrug my shoulders and carry on with my life. If their views are hateful or discriminatory then they must bear the consequences of airing these view in public. That is their choice.
It’s not like we are going to be able to fix them with a simple “Turn it off and back on again” attitude.

Musings on Writing

 

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My blog posts have been a little sporadic recently. Mainly because I’ve been focusing on my novels. The one that I’ve finished had a load of editing to be done after being beta read. The other I took a break from and so I had to go back through it, editing some parts and familiarising myself with the plot and its various strands.
Now I will confess I’m not experienced enough to give actual writing advice to other authors out there. Despite having been interested in writing since I was young and working of these novels for the last three years, I’m still learning. I’m still visiting the various blogs and web pages of other authors out there. I’m on a couple of Facebook pages and forums where I can ask advice. One of the best I have found is Kristen Kieffer at Well-storied.com. (Link below)

 

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This is more a blog about my journey and what I have found, personally, since I’ve started writing. That said I would advise with what I’ve written above which is to try and join a community where you can get advice and (helpful) criticism from others.
I started writing back in my school days. Of course, for me, these stories were short and not very good. I had a whole series planed out, the adventures of Steve Falcon and his team on board their ship. I even had ideas for a spin off with one of the characters, Hawk, traveling through time often with a female companion. Yes these stories borrowed heavily from other fiction I experienced. Thunderbirds, Star Trek, Doctor Who. I think I wrote about forty of the planned hundred and sixty stories. I still have a fondness for these even though I threw out all the exercise books I wrote the stories in years ago. It’s not an idea I think I’d go back to but I regret getting rid of those works. There were still basic ideas there, names, characters that could be developed now. Just the other day I thought about how I could use some of those ideas in a future novel. So my second bit of advice is never throw anything away. There could be something there that can be used and if not then it still shows how you’re writing develops over time.

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I think the next story I tried to write was a Doctor Who, Star Trek TNG crossover. (You can see a tread here) The story I had in my head was quite good. (I think) A Time Fracture causes the two universes to connect and the Tardis ends up on board the Enterprise. The Master was going to behind it and it would have featured the Cybermen and the Borg. But if I remember correctly the disk I had the story saved on became corrupted and I lost the work. It wouldn’t have really developed though, this wasn’t a story that would had got anywhere but all this early stuff was practise. Ok I was using characters already established but I had ideas in my head. I was forming plots, working out how the story could develop. So I’d say if you want to write working with already established ‘universes’ then do it. You won’t be able to publish it because of copy write but it will hopefully develop your writing.

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My first novel, A Girl’s Night out started life as a short story back in college. We had to write a 1500 word story in the first person. I first wrote one that had its main character interacting with the Doctor. It turned out in the end this is how the MC viewed the programme and the character from Doctor Who was a role model. I liked it. But then I also had another idea. I wrote a story about a cross dresser who actually, thanks to a friend, gets the courage to go to a party with her as their alter ego. I loved it. It was a story I was pleased with. It was also very personal to me and this was the one I submitted. I got an A. So pleased with this piece I even considered submitting it somewhere as a short story.
Role on about two years later when in University I took novel writing module in my third year. I was already playing catch up after changing courses in the first year and with my dissertation, I had a heavy work load. The assignment was to write the first chapter of your novel. 3000 words. Now I’ve always wanted to write a detective novel and this was my initial thought. But then I remembered my short story. That was already half the work done. I just needed to expand it a bit more. I did. I passed the course and more so I felt, yes this idea had potential to be a full novel.
And so I did nothing with it for the next three years.
Life kind of got in the way and although I attempted to go back to it I never quite found the time until a couple of years ago. Then I began working on it. I wrote and wrote. A vague notion of where I wanted the story to end up but for the most part I discovered the story as I went. There was a lot of me, my experiences and my dreams in the story and so it just seemed to flow naturally for the most part. I also found it very therapeutic.
So again I reiterated, always keep what you work on.

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Now I’m working on that detective novel I’ve always wanted to write. The title, The Devil in the Woods, has been in my head for years as is some of the most basic points. But now I was able to develop a character for the lead. Not just some previously created character from another show or a basic copy of one. But a character of my own making. D.C Marcy Bishop. With flaws and a background. A character I’m still adding little bits to, like her love for chocolate chip cookies. A character who is happy with who she is but finds herself still dealing with her past because she is transgender.
But I do find it harder to write this one.
It’s different to what I’ve wrote before. That came from experiences and personal things to me where this deals with murder, police procedural. There is a lot of research to this. And unlike the first novel where I could just basically write what came to me, here I have to introduces suspects, drop clues, head toward the final chapter and the capture of the villain. I simply started writing but realise that in this case an outline would have been handy. Notes to keep track of characters and threads. I realise unlike my first novel, I’ll have to do extensive re writes and edits on this story. I’m going to get the basics down and then go back and expand it, add in some more plots and character development. So I’m still on a learning curve, but it’s an enjoyable one. More than that it’s a path I want to go down. I want to write this novel, then I want to take the character and write another one. And another one. I also want to take this character and add it to some other shows. A Death in Paradise and a Columbo one. Not to publish, but just for fun and to help develop the character more in my mind.

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There are doubts there. What if this genre isn’t for me? Is this story just as simple and badly written as those Steve Falcon stories from my childhood? This is where that community of writers come in handy. I got someone to look at my WIP and they seemed to think there was potential there. It’s very motivational to have feedback. And now I find the story is coming along quite well. About 30000 words so far and a few ideas on expansion when I go back through it.
My final bit of advice. Keep at it. Find the time to sit down and write and work at it. Especially if it’s something you enjoy doing.
I have ideas for another novel outside this series dealing with a drag artist, and maybe a sequel to A Girls’ Night Out. But they can wait or at least have the bare basics sketched out. Write any ideas down, let them bubble around in you heads but don’t lose focus on your WIP. I found sometimes that I would start something but then have a different idea and start something else. Thus I would never really develop a story. I guess it’s kind of like drawing where you start with a basic sketch. Then full it in more to take shape. Then go back to add details and then finally maybe colour. Its maybe better to do some rough sketches then concentrate on finish one completely before going on to the next.
As for Steve Falcon and his crew on that ship. I was thinking back on them the other day. Were any of the characters any good to use somewhere else. Steve Falcon. Sounds rather like a generic heroic name from a very cheaply made TV series. What if it was a cheaply made TV series? What if Steve Falcon was just a character played by some actor? What if he or one of the other actors were murdered? What if Marcy Bishop is brought in to investigate the crime?

 

Link for Well-storied.com

https://www.well-storied.com/

 

 

A Promise for 2019

 

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Last year I was tempted to write a blog post about why I don’t do New Year resolutions. It’s mainly because sometimes when I set goals, especially time sensitive ones, I find it puts added pressure on me to complete, taking away some of the pleasure and taking short cuts. However I decided to write this based on a Facebook post I wrote for Christmas Eve.
You see a couple of weeks ago I received some bad news. Someone I knew had died. Someone I had once been close to many years ago but had moved away from. Recently we had reconnected on a friendship level, had meet up for a drink and a catch up. It was planned to do so again before Christmas and a date was set which, due to some selfishness on my part, I pulled out of. Maybe unsurprisingly I didn’t hear from my friend and had planned to rearrange for the 22nd. However that week I saw on Facebook she had died. I was shocked. It was out of the blue. It’s not the first time it has happened, many years ago another friend of ours also died suddenly.
But this time it felt different because this time there was a level of guilt. Because I was due to meet up with her and didn’t I missed that chance and now there is no second chance. So in my Facebook post I wrote about how we should always try to make time for the people who are important to you. Don’t put off that meet up or chat thinking I’ll get around to it in a week or so. Because you’ll never know when that chance might be taken away from you. But that wasn’t my main point of the post.

What I wanted to point out was life can be short and that we should grab it by both hands and just go for it. This is going to be my aim for the New Year. As mentioned there are things I’m working towards. To finish editing my novel and push to get it published as well as continue work on my other novel. To maybe work towards becoming a Drag Artist. Yes I have to find a way to get over my lack of confidence in order to get up on stage and a lot of work to do before I even have the look I want. Hell I even need to find some talent for something. The same as with the Trans issues I have and moving towards HRT. And then there is still the fact I want to get a different job.

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I’m procrastinating. I know this. I have been told this many times by many people over the last couple of years. I may lack confidence but I quit my job and went to Uni and actually got a degree. I went on this very blog from thinking I’d never post an actual photo of myself to one in full make up. And this was after going for a full make over and photoshoot. I need to get out of the comfort zone I’m in. Yes it’s scary and yes I might fail, fall flat on my face and get laughed at. But if I don’t try then I’ll end up wondering what if. A few people have told me not to worry about what people think. Be who you want to be and fuck them. Do what makes you happy.
So firstly to anyone reading, please don’t put your dreams and goals on hold. Work towards them and getting to where you want. But also help those friends of yours that are also struggling to make their dreams come true. Just having that bit of support behind you can make a big difference.
Secondly my own promise because this time next year I want to look back on this post and think yeah I went for it. Maybe I won’t transition but I’m going to head towards that way and see what happens. The same for drag. I need to buckle down and really learn how to do my makeup. To work on more confidence and find a way to try it. And there is a few other things I want to try out. On top of this is my writing. After Misty wanting me to write a review of her drag show (which she loved by the way) I want to do more. I’m going to be doing a review of the photoshoot for Trans living magazine. I want to get more articles and reviews published so it’s another road I’m looking at going down.
So Trans, drag, writing, job. Four main goals as well as a few minor ones and all the time working towards getting more confidence. Finding a way to express myself and who I want to be.
To my friend Elaine, This is my promise. RIP. To any readers. Happy New Year and may it be full of hopes and dreams.

who

OMD – AN X-RATED XMAS

“IT’S CHRISTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAS.”
And that means one thing. The event I have been looking forward to for months even more then Christmas dinner with my family. Yes it’s time for The Luna Lakes Show.
“Wait, what?……… Oh right. Ok sorry. It’s time for….

MISTY MONIQUE’S OH MY DRAG PRESENTS – AN X-RATED XMAS SHOW

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Back in Cheltenham at the Frog and Fiddle for this amazing show starring five great drag artists. One of the best highlights was that Miss Felicia was added to the line-up after I’d brought my ticket so for me it’s was a case of icing on top of the cake. On top of this Misty actually asked if I was going to write this review as she had loved the last one. I had already planned to but it gave my confidence a great boost to be asked so thanks Misty. We’ll get to the acts in a minute but let’s start at the beginning of the night.
I needed to drop a present off for Miss Felicia, she has been so supportive of me with things over the last year I needed to say thank you. I had hoped to give the present to one of the staff to take through for me. No, Instead I actually got taken backstage where Felicia introduced me to the rest of performers. Suddenly being in the presence of so many artists that I admire, I must admit I got a little tongue tied and probably bright red which is not the best when you have ginger hair. So much for that new confidence. However it was one of the highlights of the night and just a note to future me… ‘If you are ever asked to hang out backstage again do it you bloody moron.’ Anyway back to the show.
Whereas Drag Wars allowed some of the drag artists who were judging the competition a little time to perform it was mainly about finding a new Drag Queen, tonight we got full sets out of the artists involved and Misty had put together a line up where every artist was different to each other. Let’s start with Isabell End, last year’s Drag Wars winner.

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She performed a little at the final of Drag Race but tonight I felt I was seeing the real Isabell End. She is what I would consider a traditional Drag Queen taking us through some familiar Christmas tunes even if the words were different and, how should I put it, not exactly child friendly. Ok they were as blue as the Tardis on my Christmas jumper. And I’ll never be able to look at my R/C Dalek in the same way again after what she did with one on stage tonight. But she got the crowd singing along, was extremely dirty and above all very fun to watch. The first part of her act she was very Kate Bush so it came as no surprise that one of her numbers was Wuthering Heights, a brilliant performance.

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Now let’s talk about my friend, Miss Felicia. Of course I’m going to heap on the praise here but rightly so. When I told her that I’d be writing this review I told her that she would be fabulous tonight and or course I was right. Her style is very much in line with Lady Gaga only with a bit more humour thrown in. Vary adaptable to any hiccups that comes along and very quick with the retorts as well. But she also did two rather nice and meaningful songs that were very personal to her. A slight insight to this performer that it just made my estimation of her raise up a few more notches.

Oedipussi Rex. I just don’t know what to say here. Ok I’ve seen a few drag artists but I have never seen an act like this. The first part of the act was a pseudo magic act, swallowing light up fire wands and blowing glitter over the audience and using fairy lights in a way I’d never imagine. Having travelled all the way from London to do this show I felt we were in for something special and I wasn’t wrong. The barbarian show that she did for her second act was funny, inventive and as far as I know totally original.

So that’s the guest artists out of the way lets go for our two hosts. Of course we have the talented and gorgeous Luna Lakes.

 

At one stage during her act she came up close to me, I felt like a rabbit caught in headlights and I forgot how to breath. She’s hot (literally apparently as Misty says she sweats more than meat on a barbie during a heatwave)
But who can blame her with the amount of energy she puts into her routines dancing around the stage. All joking aside I love her act. She has great comic timing, her lip sync is spot on. Her look is flawless. Luna as a character is so believable. If I could become a drag artist myself I’d probably be in the same vain as Miss Felicia, Isabell End and Msdemeamer. That’s the type of personality I have but in my heart I would love to look and perform just like Luna.

As for the chemistry between Misty and Luna, which I mentioned in the Drag Wars post, it truly is something special to see these two together. If Dec ever follows Ant out of the jungle then these two should be the new hosts of I’m a celebrity. No scratch that. If the rumours of Ru Paul bringing Drag Race to the UK is true let him stay in America and let Misty and Luna host it. Watching her and Luna together performing Santa Baby was definitely high on my list of favourite parts of the night.

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Finally let’s talk about our host then. The equally talented Misty Monique. She has a fantastic presence on the stage weather its introducing the acts or performing and it’s not just down to the outfits she wears. But that’s not the great thing about her. This is the sixth show she has put on this year and three of those would be Drag Wars which in itself must be a phenomenal amount of work. She has to put in so much time and effort into this. Tonight’s show was on the whole amazing. Yes there were a few unrehearsed moments such as the final number of Last Christmas with all five artists. You’d think one of them might actually have known the words to the verses. But really this just added to the fun of the night. Add in a quick lip sync battle between three of the audience about half way through, of which I was too terrified to volunteer then jealous that I didn’t (bear in mind a, I was on soft drinks and b, probably would have emptied the room)
I can’t level one bit of criticism at this show. The audience loved it. I loved it. The atmosphere was great and if I do nothing else this Christmas I don’t care because this was the best thing about Christmas this year. And the artists are so friendly, the nicest people on this planet.
Not only can I not wait for next year’s Christmas show but I can hardly wait until February for Misty’s next show. I’m hooked. Happy Christmas everybody.

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Ok I think that’s good enough, Can I get some free tickets now Misty? Misty? Misty?

Links to these fabulous artists because they deserve recognition. Also I must make a small correction to the above. I have since been informed that Isabell End is also a residential act and not a guest. Which is great cause I’ll get more chance to see her perform again.

https://www.facebook.com/themistymonique/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/Miss-Felicia-215562955978/

https://www.facebook.com/delunasional/

https://www.facebook.com/BellEnd17/

https://www.facebook.com/oedipussi.rex.9

 

The Photoshoot

 

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For a couple of months now, still in a bid to discover myself I have been looking into doing a more professional makeover and a photoshoot. After a bit of research I went for Girls are Us situated in Bristol, run by Jenny Wave, a qualified make-up artist.
As she offers both make up lessons or a makeover and photoshoot I was unsure which option to go for. I really need some more help with doing make up but the chance to have a proper makeover to see what was possible was too big to miss and I definitely wanted photos of the day so with a quick conversation with Jenny we went for the latter option. I figured if all went well I could book lessons in the future.
As this was my first time I had no idea what to expect and I admit to being nervous. Jenny however was very friendly and as we chatted over a cup of tea I felt my nervousness quickly dissipating. She was very good at putting me at ease. Jenny is really friendly with a good sense of humour. The tea wasn’t bad either. She gave me a quick tour and then allowed me some time to change into some of the clothes she has. After choosing a nice dress and a pair of shows I fell in love with, and that she was lucky to get back at the end, I was ready. A complement from Jenny on my choice of style really boosted my confidence.
With this done Jenny began on the make-up. This was understandingly a long process which much more time and effort going into it then I had ever done myself. Jenny explained the different processes as she went on. At times there was moments where I had to stay still, something I was very bad at but Jenny has plenty of patience. The worse part was when she had to apply the eyeliner. I have never been able to do this bit myself and am very sensitive around that area. All the time I was sat there I was not allowed to look in the mirror. This was left until the very end.
The result was a bit of a shock as well as amazing. I had an image in my mind on how I look after doing my own makeup. What I saw in that mirror was a completely different person. I was totally lost for words and it was a moment I’ll never forget.

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After this it was time for the photoshoot. That was a lot of fun. Jenny has a room set up for this complete with backdrop and lighting. Several shots were taking from different angles. I also, under direction, was able to try and different poses with Jenny being able to give me tips on what works and what doesn’t. Time flew by with a costume and wig change during the shoot. It just didn’t seem like two hours had really past. We had a quick look at the photos at the end of the session, after I had changed back to my own clothes, and I was pleased with the results. To have more time for photos I elected to travel home without removing the makeup. That in itself was a nervous but freeing experience. It’s not the first time I’ve driven in full make up but not that early in the day and in busy traffic.

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All in all it was not only fun but very eye opening and certainly something I was glad I went through with despite my nervousness. I picked up a lot of tips as well as learnt more about myself. It is an experience I would recommend to anyone thinking about it and I would certainly recommend Jenny.
A few tips then for anyone thinking of booking a session with Jenny.
1) Communication. Make sure she knows what you are after so that the session can be tailored to suit your needs.
2) Enjoyment. You are going to get out what you put in. You’re paying for this time so use it. So remember to enjoy yourself.
3) Deodorant. Use some or take some with you. Jenny does have some on hand but you may prefer your own. It gets warm during the makeover and Jenny has to work very close to you.
4) Anticipation. Definitely don’t be tempted to take a sneak peek during the make-up session. That reveal at the end is an amazing experience by itself.
5) Above all preparation. Make sure you are ready for this. Being clean shaven on the morning of the session is a must. As is taking a memory stick with you in order for Jenny to send you the photos (luckily I had one spare in the car) Taking your own clothes is allowed so make sure you take anything you wish to wear if you have an outfit in mind.

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So after all this did I find what I was looking for? Not quite. As amazing a job Jenny did when I looked in the mirror it didn’t feel like me. I think however this was more down to the wigs, when I wore my short red wig home I felt more like me. But I do want to go back again. I still want the lessons and I do want another photoshoot now I know what to expect. If Jenny is willing I’d love to try out an eighties style look and maybe a bit more on the drag side.

 

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Trans Matters II – The Wrath of Twitter

 

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So recently I’ve been a bit quiet on my blog. Mainly because I’ve been caught up with other things. I revisited my old Twitter account. I’d started one years ago but didn’t get on with it and left it. Now I have several people I’m following and it’s been a good platform for me to interact with trans people and to come a bit more out. My profile pic is my Supergirl one.

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Of course by doing this I have got caught up with much of the ‘debate’ surrounding Trans issues especially in light of the consultation of reforms to the Gender Reform Act regarding self I.D. A move I am in favour of. To be honest I was a bit unprepared for the amount of hate coming from those who not only oppose it but in some cases even oppose Trans women. It is truly horrifying. That is to say that some people opposed to self I.D don’t have reasonable concerns but in many cases are ill informed on the subject.
My own reaction to any attack levelled toward myself is to talk back. Not shout and argue or get into arguments but just to answer back and in many ways in an unexpected and possibly weird way. A trick I learnt from the comedian Joe Lycett. For an example:
Recently I was embroiled on a thread mainly talking about Labour. Of course it wasn’t long before some people who didn’t agree with me changed from bashing Labour to bashing me, attacking me simply from my profile photo. One such individual actually posted ‘Does he really think he’s Supergirl. I want to vomit.’ Now despite my powers of being able to make a woman I’ve never met or spoken to apparently physically sick I know I’m not Supergirl. Now I could have simply told her where to go but I didn’t. Instead I wrote back ‘Of course I don’t think I’m Supergirl’. Followed by this gif.

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Weather it was meant sarcastically of because she was confused or simply she wanted to still try and get a rise out of me her response was. ‘But I guess you want everyone to think you’re a woman.’ Now there is nothing on my Twitter profile that mentions I’m Trans or questioning. I believe I mention that I’m questioning somewhere in the thread but I’m guessing that she hadn’t read this. And at the moment as I am only questioning and that I may only wish to do this in an artist way my response was ‘Personally I don’t give a shit’ followed by how I do want to get better at passing. This was then followed by her giving me make up tips and advice on how to get a better look to pass better as a natural woman. She’d gone from vomiting at the thought of me to trying to help me pass better.
While I take great delight that I managed to turn this women’s viewpoint around and count it as a victory I’m aware that I wasn’t really standing up for Trans rights in this way. It is something I try to do though. Not long after this incident the news came out about Trump trying to effectively erase Trans people. Its timing was also coincidently with the airing of episode three of the new series of Doctor Who, Rosa. (Look if you don’t know about Rosa Parks, go look her up and then come back) One reviewer of the show, who is also genderqueer, mentions that one problem with the episode is it shows no one else standing up for Rosa on the bus. It’s a valid point. Of course the Doctor and friends can’t interfere on this occasion no matter how hard it is for them. But now there is a comparison between then and now and quite rightly as this You Tuber says people do need to stand up for those being discriminated against. It can’t just be down to the victims.

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I had to remind myself of this very recently as some of the hate on Twitter nearly made me give up. A report on a woman, a mother, who abused a twelve year old in America came to light and immediately comments were made on why there was no mention of her being trans, on how it was obvious a male. The usual transphobic crap and do you know what. There was no official mention of this person being trans. Nothing mentioned in reports, just transphobic people deciding that a woman let alone a mother could do this so they changed the facts to fit their narrow minded views. And they say they can always tell. Huh.
Right deep breath.
In many ways the whole Trans thing has reminded me of the X-men graphic novel. God loves, Man kills. I recently dug it out of storage to re-read as events sparked memories of the story line. A story line where there is a movement out to eradicate mutants, such is the hate towards them. There is no attempt to try and understand mutants and the leader of the movement even turns on his most loyal follower when it’s indicated she too might have mutant genes. In the end it’s not only the X-men that stand up for their rights but one solitary police officer doing what is right, protecting one young mutant when she is threatened.

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It’s not the only X-men comparison I’ve made. Two weeks previous to writing this I tweeted about how maybe there should be a registration of Trans people so they can be policed before pointing out this was a plot of the X-men which didn’t work out so well in the end. It was a joke showing how absurd the idea is and yet this week the idea of a register was suggested. It is truly scary times we live in and I fear for those people across the pond. Certainly the X-men comics contains at its core the issues of hate against a minority. Currently the new season of Supergirl is also dealing with these kinds of issues, using aliens as its metaphor. They have also added a new transgender character. Hopefully a positive step in the right direction.
So regardless of what I decided about myself. Regardless of how I ‘protect’ myself on Twitter I will continue to stand up and fight for people’s right to be accepted for who they are. Rosa reinforced that in me and indeed the Doctor in general. In doing so I rewatched the twelfth Doctor’s speech to the Master and Missy. Because fighting a battle (even on Twitter) is not about winning, it’s not about beating somebody. It’s definitely not because it’s easy. It’s because it’s right and above all its kind. It’s just kind.

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Drag Wars 2018

 

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So recently I found myself back in my old university town of Cheltenham when I attended two out of the three shows of Drag Wars 2018 completion. Unfortunately I was unable to go to heat one due to being at Pride. This was the first Drag Wars I’ve attended, or any drag competition to be honest. The competition is a spin off from, Felicia’s Drag Race, done by my friend, Miss Felicia. The competition is run by Misty Monique. A Drag Queen with a unique and literally out of this world look who won Drag Race in 2015.

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So heat two consisted of serval acts for whom we had to use our tickets to vote for. To be fair every act was not only good but very different to each other. Some were just a bit weaker than others. Among them one shone out to me, Ophelia Cox, Gloucester’s youngest Drag Queen. A fantastic act with a few little tricks up her sleeve (or more to the point down her dress) and she has a great classy look. I was definitely impressed by her style and I loved the dress she was wearing. I was able to talk to her afterwards to find out the make and where to get one from. (Which I promptly did with a view of doing a Jessica Rabbit style photo set sometime soon.) So that was one of my votes used before I even saw the rest.

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Another of my votes went to Hevvi Flo, young, energetic, memorising. The show she put on was like nothing I’d seen before. The moves that she did on stage was amazing. It was clear early on that she was definitely a favourite to go through to the next round. The judges voted highly of her.
My third and final vote was harder to cast. I was torn between a few of the acts. True I could have cast a second vote for Ophelia but felt I should spread my vote. In the end my final vote went to Semi Colon, a woman that not only gave a good show but put across a message about accepting yourself. Ultimately and rightly (IMO) it was Ophelia and Hevvi Flo that went through to the final.
So a few weeks later I find myself back to watch the final. Sadly Hevvi Flo had to pull out beforehand due to illness, a shame as she was a favourite to win. There was also an act brought back, Astro, from heat one, who gave an enjoyable performance. Ophelia gave another good performance although it felt a little less snazzy then the first. There were still a few surprises in her performance however.
They were followed by the two winners from heat one, Ravenna Slayshon and Sage. For me personally Sage didn’t hit the right spot for me but the act was good and very emotional. You could tell it was very personal and I couldn’t fault it. Then there was Ravenna. Wow. This Queen knew how to put on a show. Dragged to the stage on a blanket pulled by four guys who then helped lift her up onto stage it was an amazing performance. For a little pub in Cheltenham it was almost like a show by Madonna or Gaga in a stadium. Her performance was faultless. Sadly, for me, her performance was overshadowed by a rather large and very vocal fan base.
So when it came to voting it was a no brainer. All three of my votes went to Ophelia Cox. Sadly however it was Sage and Ravenna who were the clear winners going thorough to the final stage of the competition. This then left me with a dilemma as it was hard to choose who to vote for in this round. Both were very good. Both deserved the vote. I held off for most of the voting time but eventually (maybe wrongly) my mind was made up by Ravenna’s own fans. Their antics and attitude towards the other acts had annoyed me and so Sage got my vote. Ultimately though Ravenna was the winner and to be fair she is going to be fantastic but hopefully many of the other acts I saw will go on to have great success. They certainly deserve it.
So that was Drag Wars 2018 and I loved it and look forward to Drag Wars 2019. There was an incredible atmosphere at both shows, and presumably heat one, with the place packed out. The final finished with the acts, judges and hosts performing Lady Marmalade. A fitting show stopper.
Already I have tickets for Misty Monique’s next show at Christmas, Oh my Drag – An X-rated Xmas.

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It’s going to be amazing and I’m looking forward to because like Drag Wars it will feature a Drag Queen who has become one of my favourites. No not one of the acts but Luna Lakes, Misty’s cohort and pre show host. She performed for the opening of the shows as well as throughout and was brilliant. Ok, I’m happy to admit I may just have a little crush on her. Her look is amazing as well as the persona and she just blew me away. The interactions between here and Misty make for a great double act. Even a live Facebook feed that they did together out of drag just shows how much chemistry these two have.
So not only did I enjoy the show but it’s also made me question even more where I want to go with myself. I’m still not sure if I’m Trans or just enjoy becoming female for a little time in an artistic way to take photos. I do want to get better with both my look and how I model myself in the photos. At present out of two hundred photos maybe only five or six I’m happy with. It may well be that I could be happy in doing drag. I already have a stage name in my head. Cherry Ade, cool yeah? (Well I like it). So this is something I’m going to look into. It’s not the first time I’ve considered it. Many years ago when in College I thought about doing drag but never did. Drag Wars has certainly proven inspirational.
So I have plans to get some professional help with make-up and to talk with Miss Felicia for some tips and I’ll see where I go. I’d love to have a look like Luna and Ophelia, except unfortunately older. Maybe sometime it’ll be me up there on stage trying to impress the judges and the audience without fainting. And I don’t think I’d even be that worried about winning. I’d just love to have the courage to have a go and hopefully not suck. All I’ve got to do is develop some talent first and judging by the acts I saw I’ll have some hard work ahead of me.

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Photos of Ophelia Cox and Misty Monique used with kind permission. Links to their Facebook site below.

https://www.facebook.com/themistymonique/?ref=br_rs

https://www.facebook.com/pg/TheOpheliaCox/services/?ref=page_internal

Plus links to Miss Felicia and Luna Lakes

https://www.facebook.com/Miss-Felicia-215562955978/

https://www.facebook.com/delunasional/

 

 

 

 

 

Who Am I

 

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So recently in circle we were asked to tell the rest of the group who we were, to describe ourselves briefly. Thinking back on this later I realised that A) I could have brought out more about myself then I reviled but sadly my anxiety got the better of me and I forgot some of what I wanted to say. B) I could have talked for a good half hour then the min or two we had.
I started off that night saying something I have said before. That if everyone I’ve known came to my funeral they would have different views on who I was. They would sit there and describe me in different ways. Yes there may be a few common things. That I always tried to be there for people, that I was able to take whatever banter was thrown my way. But there would be so many things reviled that others wouldn’t have known. So many more sides to my character.

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I’ve suffered from depression on and off for years. I’ve thought of suicide and I’ve self-harmed in the past. I’ve questioned my gender, my sanity and my place in the world. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Who the hell am I?
Over the years I’ve studied psychology, philosophy, religion, mediumship, life coaching etc etc in a lifelong quest to figure things out and to find answers. Often the answers have led to even more questions. Sometimes they have led to me pushing myself in directions I never thought my life would take.

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Those poor people sitting there reminiscing about my life, remembering me. “Happy go lucky.” “Carried the weight of the world on his shoulders.” “Lots of friends, very outgoing.” “Loner, secluded, kept himself to himself.” Hell even my hair colour isn’t consistent. Ginger, blond, brown, red. What chance have they got getting to the real me?
I use to be someone who would post uplifting inspiration quotes on Facebook, The last few years have found me in a slightly more cynical frame of mind. However many of the quotes I’ve used over the year in my blog are ones that have spoken personally to me. Maybe I should get back to posting such things. Not only do they reinforce those ideas into my own mind but they allow others a little insight to myself. A little glimpse of things I believe. I’m certainly not the same person I was twenty years ago. Or ten, five or even two.
I would like to think, at that wake that people would not so much be mourning my lost but celebrating my life. Recalling many stories about me as they do. I like to think I’ve had an interesting life. It’s not all been plan sailing. There have been a lot of hard times that I’ve had to overcome. Walls thrown up in my way. It’s not always gone the way I would have liked and there are regrets, missed opportunities and things I would love to be able to do differently. But I’ve also been a student, been to uni, got a degree and spent many hours with friends in the SU bar getting drunk. I’ve been Captain of my skittle team, trying to get high scores and having a laugh whilst getting drunk. Been out clubbing, (badly) dancing up on the dancefloor whilst getting drunk.

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I’ve been a paranormal investigator, walking around derelict buildings in the dead of night waiting for something unnatural to happen and usually wishing I was drunk. I’ve studied martial arts, mediumship and creative writing. I’ve wrote a novel (and will hopefully get that and others published before my end), marched at Pride. And there is so much more I want to do.
Three things occur to me. 1. There has been a lot of alcohol in my life. No doubt the character of Bernice Summerfield has had a bigger influence on my life then I thought. 2. I have done a lot so far and meet so many wonderful people over the years. Some have disappeared into the past although I’d like to think they know I’d still be there for them if they needed me.
3. That it would be impossible to pin down my entire life. I have secrets even more than those I’ve reviled here. And how can anyone out there really know me when I still don’t know myself who I am? It’s a question that I may never get the answer for but it has led to many adventures trying to find out and I hope for many more. It’s one of the reasons I’ve never found myself able to settle down. I’ve always wanted more, to get on to the next thing and experience something new. Had I settled down with my girlfriend a few years ago I’d never have found time to write my novel and I wouldn’t have spent the weekend dancing in a gay nightclub with friends in Cardiff. But had I not been in that relationship at that time I wouldn’t have got my degree.
I’d like to think overall those people will be thinking fondly of me as a friend, a confidant, a hard worker and a good person. A shoulder to cry on, a helping hand or someone to dance the night away with. I’ve been told I’ve been thought of by people as lovely or sweet.
Student, paranormal investigator, transgender, writer and consumer of alcoholic beverages. What else might be added to that list before I’m finished? What more stories can I provide for people to remember me by?

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Pride Cyrmu

 

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Ok it’s been a little while since the last post, I’ve been having a bit of a rest as well as working solidly for the last eight months. I now have a week off to give chance to recover, build back up my energies and get back on top of things. And I’ve started my time off in style.
Yes I have finally done it. I’ve been to my first proper Pride festival. Yes I know there is a previous blog post somewhere near the start of this blog where I went to a Pride event but that was just a couple of hours in a club watching a few acts.
This was the full Monty. By staying in a B & B Friday and Saturday night I was able to completely enjoy my time. Firstly I took part in the parade through the streets of Cardiff. To begin with I was very nervous, not knowing what to expect but that soon disappeared amongst the cheering of the marchers and the crowds that lined the street. There was something about being in the middle of that crowd of people showing my support for others as well as feeling accepted by those around me.

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There were just hundreds of people in that march. I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of something so big in my life.
Then there was the festival itself. Three separate stages with acts. Luckily I had a couple of friends who invited me to join them and their group which really helped me to relax more. It was definitely more enjoyable sharing the experience with others then being just on my own and through them I also made some new friends. The place itself was packed with people, full of different diversities. Although I had gone as my normal self I left with the feeling that here I could have been who I wanted to be without any judgement or embarrassment. My friend was in drag as it was, as they are a locally famous drag artist.
As an added bonus towards the end of the evening my friends decided to take me clubbing around the gay scene in Cardiff and so it was that I found myself, glitter over my face dancing upon the dance floor in a nightclub as it turned midnight, ending one of the best days I have had for a while.
I left wanting more. I want to go back next year, I want to try Brighton. There is a more local Pride weekend near me soon which I might attend although I also have ticket for Drag Wars that night so we’ll see. But it was an amazing experience. I arrived back home on Sunday tired but happy with a feeling of disappointment that it was over.

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The Sword as a symbol of masculinity and masturbation

“I am Adam, Prince of Eternia, defender of the secrets of castle Greyskull. Fabulous secret powers were revelled to me, the day I held aloft my magic sword and said….

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Wait what? Ok as a kid as Adam would raise his sword and shout “By the power of Greyskull” and transform into He-man my heart would beat. This was the bit in the show I loved, the part I always waited for. It was only later with comments on the internet that I came across the idea of what this introduction could be read as. Secret powers reviled when I held aloft my magic sword. Could this really be a metaphor for the discovery of masturbation? The time when a boy becomes a (He) man.
As I mentioned in a previous post many of my heroes have been sword welders. Robin Hood, Angel, Ducan McLoad, the Highlander. Well let’s face it that whole series revolves around swords. Thundercats was another cartoon where a sword was pivotal. Young Lion O goes from a boy to a man, the leader of the Thundercats and at the same time is entrusted with the sword of Omens. Almost a small dagger until Lion O takes it in his hands and with a cry of Thunder, thunder thunder, thundercats HO it grows longer until finally shooting a symbol of light into the air.

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Even in real life the sword has usually been a sign of manhood. Warriors would grow up learning how to weld the weapon until being old enough to go into battle. The sword becomes an extension of oneself, a part of the body.
But there have been women sword welders. He-man himself had his twin sister She-Ra. A female version of the character, to sell the toys to girls as well as boys, to give a role model to girls as well as boys. But the problem with this that while She-Ra, princess of power, was a six foot slim blond goddess she was just as strong as her brother. She worked as a role model showing girls that they could be just as strong as boys but looking back it just feels like they were adding masculinity to the character. That her powers lay in being really strong just like a (He) man. Still it’s worth mentioning that on recently re-watches just how camp He-man was and by comparison She-Ra was much much more. Is there a word for something that is more campier then camp? I don’t want to use the word worse because it implies that this was a bad thing but I think overall it certainly works as a early introduction to LGTB themes. After all the hero does ride around on a flying unicorn that has multi coloured wings.

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And if that didn’t then let’s move to the nineties and the almost She-Ra like Xena, warrior Princess. Really all these princesses becoming warriors? A symbolism of girls becoming women? Or that women can be just as powerful as men. Xena not only showed a female warrior out fighting for justice but showed a friendship with her young companion Gabrielle that many interpreted as lesbian. Lucy Lawless herself became a gay icon and it had been said since that the character was gay.

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But I’m veering off topic here. Let’s get back to our phallic shaped swords. You know the weapons that are used to penetrate people. Certainly to Freud the symbolism of a sword in a dream was phallic in nature and therefore a sex symbol. Traditional I would say that a toy sword would more likely have been aimed towards boys than girls. It represented a sign of manhood. Spilt blood or spilt seed.
Growing up I played a game called Hero Quest and then moved on to the more advanced Warhammer Quest. In both these games the figures were male. Ok two of them were of different races but still male. Warhammer Quest even had extra character packs you could buy. Imperial Noble, Pit Fighter, Witch Hunter and so forth. In fact nine extra characters bringing the total to thirteen and not one of them a woman. Yes there were a few female characters in the overall Warhammer range that could be brought to represent some of the characters in the game but it still says something that there was no actual female figure included in the game. Is this because it was thought only guys played the game? While I’ve never played D & D I know some women that play and at least that game is set up so you can create any gender character you wish. I do however play D & D Neverwinter where my character is female.

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So maybe the sword is still a symbol of power, of coming of age but maybe it is no longer a masculine symbol. Or maybe even though we have these sword welding heroines, She-Ra, Xena, Wonder Woman, there is still something masculine attached. That is that they are seen as sex symbols. Strong Women yeah but women that can be fantasied over by men. Recently She-Ra was redesigned for a new cartoon on Netflix, aimed at a young audience but there was outrage at the change. That the new costume no longer made She-Ra look sexy. In other words they can’t longer masturbate over Maybe the concern should be more on whether the character is going to be any good. That she will be a good role model. And that maybe we can have a female hero that welds a sword without it having to represent some masturbatory fantasy.

Changes

 

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Everything changes. No I’m not talking about the first episode of Torchwood or the song by Take That. No I’m talking about in life. It’s like one of life’s certainties like death. For much of my life I have hated change. I have fought against it, had anxiety over it or got angry when changes are forced on me. This is at times when my life is going great. I loved the job I had at Somerfield’s until it got closed down. I’ve had close friends, spending time hanging out with them worrying about losing them only for this self-fulfilling prophecy to eventually come true.
Nowadays I try to have a more different view towards change. It was something I had to come to terms with in uni. I loved being a student, going to lectures and hanging out with fellow students in the SU bar drinking Snakebites. But I always knew it was temporary and that I would have no choice in when it ended. Three years and that’s it. With this time limit I learned to savour every moment I could out of my time there. I still have times when I miss things or people from my past, sometimes so much it hurts but at the same time when changes have happened they have always lead to something new in my life.
Had I not been made redundant I wouldn’t have got a job where I’d meet someone who’d not only turn out to be a great friend but got me into ghost hunting and was the one who suggested that I go back to college which eventually lead to going to uni. Many times changes have brought new experiences into my life.
I shouldn’t be surprised. That change can be good is something I learned very early on. Deep Space Nine had a character, Jadzia Dax, who was joined with a symbiont who had already lived seven lifetimes. In one episode I remember watching as a kid she talks about how each change is good because it leads to new experiences. That has always stuck in my mind.

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But even more so I’m a Doctor Who fan, a show where the lead character has changed faces and personalities twelve times and had companions and friends that have come and gone over the years. In my life I’ve been like the tenth Doctor, resisted to change, raging against it and haunted by those words. “I don’t want to go.” But his incarnation is an exception. As the second Doctor commented just after his regeneration that “Life depends upon change. Even more so there is the eleventh Doctor’s final speech.
Recently I was given a sudden and upsetting reminder of my past about a friend of mine that died young a long time ago. I could remember where she lived, I remembered where I was when I got the message that she had died but for the life of me I could not remember her name and that was what got to me. Thankfully it came back to me a couple of hours later and an important part of my life was returned to me.
So yeah I must remember my past, who I was, the things that I have done. All the things that have happened to me good and bad because among other things it shows that I always survive change and many times it leads to something new and exciting. And there may even be some indications that changes are coming my way. We did Tarot cards in circle this week. I’ve always loved Tarot and have many decks. Anyway I got a reading from someone which indicated some new things coming into my life including possibly a woman. Now obviously I can take that indication in two different ways but even so I left that night feeling very positive about the future.
Changes are a coming. Prepare yourself, embrace it, hold on tight and go with the flow. You never know what’s around the corner.

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